BY PAUL HINES
A veteran track athlete and a newcomer will represent the Mt. Vernon girls team at the state finals this year.
Senior Aaliyah Palmer moves on in the shot put and discus. Charde Golliday, a freshman, qualified in the 400 meters.
Palmer hurled the discus 123 feet, nine inches. The throw was a personal best and won the event. This will be Palmer's third trip to the state finals.
“It's just really positive having your senior do that, continuing on,” Mt. Vernon girls track coach Connie Harre-Blair said. “It's also really positive that she could have her PR in the discus.”
Palmer achieved the qualifying distance in the shot put with a throw of 39 feet, three inches. The throw beat the qualifying distance by nearly three feet. The measurement is a predetermined distance that if achieved advances the athlete to state. Typically, only the top two finishers in each event qualify.
Golliday broke the predetermined qualifying time in the 400 meters. She finished fifth in the event but had a time of 59.6 seconds.
“To get in there and to qualify in the 400 and get her time, she stayed composed and stayed focused,” Harre-Blair said. “She used her 100 (meters) in order to get acclimated to the track and to get warmed up.”
Golliday just missed advancing in the 100 meters. She finished fourth with a time of 12.96 seconds. The qualifying standard was just 22 hundredths of a second faster.
The sectional also saw the Lady Rams run its fastest time of the season in the 3,200 meter relay. The group of Ashley Paulson, Camilla Bauer, Rebecca Rexing and Abbie Thompson finished with a time of 10:47.
“We had a lot of good, strong efforts from the girls which was really positive,” Harre-Blair said. “Everybody got in there like we did the (South Seven) Conference and competed and worked to get their best time.”
East St. Louis won the team sectional title with 93 points. Other top five team scores were: Cahokia 82, Triad 81, Carbondale 75 and Herrin 48.
Palmer and Golliday will compete in the 2A state final at Charleston's Eastern Illinois University next week.